It’s been a busy month for newly elected Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon MP Brad Vis.
The Conservative member of Parliament has been spending the past few weeks organizing his new staff, making hires and setting up his office.
Recently, he took some time to meet with several members of the Mission Regional Chamber of Commerce to take part in an informal discussion, to answer questions and update his activities so far.
“I’ve been an MP for a month now and I’ve held a number of introductory meetings with some of the districts and councils already and that’s continuing on,” Vis said.
He has also been to Ottawa twice this month, once for the MP orientation program and once for a training program with the Conservative Party.
He has established a new office, located at 32650 Logan Ave. in Mission, but it won’t be fully renovated until the end of the year.
“It was my campaign office but I couldn’t find a better deal closer to downtown Mission, where I ideally wanted to be, but I think it’s still close enough. We are right across from the McDonald’s.”
With the election behind him, Vis is preparing to work on the promises he made.
“Some of the first things I’ve committed to Mayor Pam Alexis is to get going on the sewage pipeline issue,” he said.
Mission needs millions in federal and provincial funding to build a second sewer line under the Fraser River to the treatment plant in Abbotsford.
Vis is planning to make contact with staff members at the infrastructure ministry and keep pushing for funding.
“I’m also going to have to work with (Maple Ridge-Mission MLA) Bob D’Eith – as I know the district already is – to make sure their end, on the provincial side, is also moving forward.”
One chamber member asked Vis if he was concerned about what he could accomplish as a member of a minority government.
“Under a minority government, the entire ball game has changed,” Vis said.
He told the group that a lot of the major national organizations are already lobbying, not only the federal Liberals but the Conservatives, NDP and Bloq.
“In order to pass any legislation, the government requires the support of an additional political party,” Vis said, noting a lot can get done in that scenario.
He pointed to the Conservative government in 2006 and 2008, who worked closely with the NDP at that time, adding that large infrastructure investments in Vancouver, like the Canada Line, were agreed on then.
“The history of minority governments in Canada actually lends itself to a higher degree of collaboration between political parties.”
Vis was also asked if there are any programs available that Mission should know about.
“Abbotsford is in the process of becoming a designated community for housing and homelessness. With that comes additional resources … I think it’s something that the district needs to look at pursuing in the years ahead because there is a problem here,” he said.
He’d also like to examine the possibility of a Service Canada office opening in Mission.
“I think Mission is large enough that there is room for discussion to bring some of those services directly to our community.”
While it’s been more than a month since the election, Vis said his life hasn’t really changed.
“A couple of people are more friendly to me, but other than that… some people say, ‘Oh we have to call you Mr. Vis now,’ and I’m like ‘No, call me Brad.’ I still drive a 2002 Camry and I’m really proud of it. And I’m not getting rid of it. I love that Camry and I’m going to drive it to 500,000 kilometres. That’s my goal.”